Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Proper Sequence

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers seeking to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement, is there a proper sequence in preparing the Standard Forms?  Does it matter if one set of forms are prepared or taken out of sequence?

Or, is the fact that the two primary sets of forms — the SF 3107 series and the SF 3112 series — are already provided in an ordered manner (i.e., for the SF 3107 series, first the “Application for Immediate Retirement”, then the Schedules A, B & C, then forms for the Agency to complete; and for the SF 3112 series, first the “Applicant’s Statement of Disability”, then the Supervisor’s Statement, the form for the Physician, etc.), reflective of the sequence one should complete them?

This, of course, brings up another and more important question: Would you trust the government to look out for your own best interests in completing the series of Standard Forms (i.e., SF 3107 series and SF 3112 series) in the order that they want you to complete them, or should you complete them in a manner that looks after your own best interests, separate and apart from the order that the Federal Government and OPM wants you to fill them out?

There is, in the end, a proper sequence to everything, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is no different from every other kind of form and content to be completed.  The way and manner that OPM and the Federal government wants you to complete a Federal Disability Retirement application does not necessarily imply any nefarious intent; it is just a difference in deciding whose best interests are you looking after — your own, or OPM’s?

In the end, all of the Standard Forms (again, the SF 3107 Series and the SF 3112 Series) must all be filled out completely, and some might conclude that the order and sequence of completing them shouldn’t matter, inasmuch as they all have to be completed anyway.  But you may want to pause and reflect for a moment: Does “proper sequence” imply that the Federal Government and OPM have prepared the SF 3107 and SF 3112A for the benefit of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, or for their own convenience?

Tricks tend to trip, and the trips are not merely the destination from point A to point B, but a hidden accident waiting to happen if you don’t complete SF 3107 and SF 3112 in their proper sequence — and that means, not necessarily in the order of their appearance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Relating negative events

Bad things come in pairs, or is it triplets?  Is there a tendency to relate and categorize in terms of color, logical sequence, similarities and characteristics?  Is the Kantian model of imposing categories upon an otherwise orderless universe the reason why we relate negative events in bunches, like grapes growing upon vines waiting to be picked?  Or do bad things happen in combinations naturally, as a law that cannot be avoided?

When we learn that others have been speaking ill of us, or of unkind statements and gossiping rumors spread about, do we not then consider the look of those around us and begin to suspect that the facial frown was directed at us, the distracted individual is not merely lost in his or her own thoughts, but is deliberately ignoring and shunning us, and even the dog that was once friendly is heard to emit a low-growling sound of unfriendly disposition?

Relating negative events is a natural response to a world that is orderless, and one that can be cruel — a perspective that is easily and readily confirmed by the uncaring attitude not just from an impervious universe, but from those who pretend to be out best friend, as well.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the Universal Law that dictates relating negative events becomes unavoidable: Suddenly, because you have taken too much SL and have requested FMLA, you are no longer the “golden boy” (or girl) who can be relied upon, and next comes the leave restrictions; the “Memorandum of Warning”, and then even a PIP; and what next?

Termination is the target for the future.

All the while, the “negative event” was the deterioration of one’s health, which then set into motion all of the other negative events which became related one to the other.

Bad things, unfortunately, happen in bunches, and it is important to initiate a “positive” element and infuse a “good” thing into the middle of those bunches of negative events, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is that positive step one can take for one’s self in the morass of relating all of those negative events that seem to have occurred without your consent.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Information: Action after words

Does the failure of an action to succeed a string of words make it automatically into a lie, or can it merely indicate a delay between thought and action, spoken words and action, or misinterpretation of words followed by non-action?  Are there phrases and afterthoughts that undermine and negate the initial statement of promised and anticipated actions, such that they “justify” the non-action?

For example, if a person says to another, “I will meet you at X restaurant at noon tomorrow,” but upon showing up at the place, the other person never appears; later, you bump into that same person and inquire about his non-appearance, and he states, “Oh, I became too busy and couldn’t come.”  Does that succeeding statement negate the previous statement; does it “explain” it; does it “supersede” it; or was it merely a statement that tells you that the person making it is rude, a bore, and someone to henceforth be suspicious of and mistrusting towards?

What if the same person had said some other things, like: “I thought better of it” or “I decided that I didn’t want to go out to lunch with you”.  As to the former, one might conclude that the person was somewhat odd; as to the latter, that he or she was unfriendly and did not deserve further consideration.  But what of the following statement: “I am so sorry. My mother was taken to the hospital suddenly and I completely forgot!  Please accept my sincere apologies!”  This last admission, of course, is the one that “justifies” the breaking of the prior commitment, and can be seen as the one where “forgiveness” and further consideration is accorded.

In every case, the action which follows after words determines the future course of how we view the person who spoke the words; yet, context and content do matter.

Take for example another scenario, where the person says, “I may be at X restaurant at noon tomorrow, or I may not.”  You show up at the place at noon and the person who made the statement does not show up.  Later, when you “bump into” the person, you say, “Why didn’t you show up at X restaurant,” and the person responds with, “Oh, as I said, I might have, but decided not to.”  Was there a broken promise?  Did the actions performed fail to “meet” with the words previously spoken?  No, and not only that – one could even argue that the person was quite true to his “word”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the connection between “action” after “words” is always an important consideration to take into account, for there will be many steps through the administrative process where compatibility between the two will have to take place.

Will your doctor support your Federal Disability Retirement case when the “crunch time” arrives?  (The doctor will need to).  Will your Human Resource personnel do as they say? (Likely not).  Will your supervisor timely complete the SF 3112B? (Hmmm…).  Will OPM “act upon” the Federal Disability Retirement application after “saying” that they will? (Again, hmmmm…..).

Action after words – the foundation of sincerity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Bugs

Some are systematically exterminated; others, kept by organic farmers for their predatory advantages, including killing others; and still others are quickly brushed off as pesky little creatures not necessarily bothersome in numbers or even in appearance, but because “bugs” are simply not tolerated in an antiseptic universe where good order and neatness cannot include the appearance of a creature that may do nothing but crawl, creep and fly about in the open space of a garden, within a house or along the fence posts.

They have become a generic “catch-all” phrase that includes anything that moves about that is smaller than a rodent and larger than a speck of dust.  We have, additionally, transferred the sense of anathema in a more metaphorical manner, as in “bugs” in computers or in other appliances that fail to work properly, as if the living bugs in the universe are equated with those imaginary deficiencies of human technological innovation.  Then, there is the phrase, of course, of being worried about something, or having something bother one’s thoughts and invading the peace of one’s mind, as in the question, “What’s bugging you?”

We attribute and project from experiences we have had, and by analogy and metaphor transmit reputations that may never be deservedly ascribed.  Bugs are, in the end, creatures that are avoided, entities that have a reputation encompassing something less than desirable, and for the most part, have become a focus for instincts to exterminate, no matter that they are environmentally positive and have contributed to the balance of nature for endless ages.  And yet, we squash them without a second thought, brush them aside and swat at them to rid them from this universe.

They are, in many respects, tantamount to a microcosmic manner in which some people treat other and fellow human beings.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the very concept of the “bug” applies in so many small and almost insignificant ways, but we just don’t realize it.  Has it “bugged” you that the Federal Agency or Postal facility mistreats you because of your medical condition?  Are you considered now as nothing more than a pesky “bug” that irritates, and does the Agency wish to treat you as nothing more than a “bug” to be squashed if given half the opportunity?

Yet, despite having contributed to the mission of the Agency or the work of the Postal Service for all of these many years, just like the bugs that have made the environment better throughout, the Federal or Postal worker with a medical condition is considered expendable.  It may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Still Life

The meaning can evoke a duality of concepts; of the artistic mode, where self-contradiction is inherent – for, it is often in depictions of inanimate objects, presented in combinations not normally seen in true living circumstances, that the artist arranges in order to capture a semblance of that which is never, or rarely, encountered.  Or of the alternate implication:  Once thought to have been deceased, the realization that there is yet a soul to revive, an aspiration to embrace, and hope again to realize.

Both, however, have something in common:  A frozen placement for all of eternity to encapsulate; the organic matter from which to work with, endure through and contrast to the opposite – of Nothingness devoid of any purpose, teleology or construct of animation; and the two together will posit a compound concept of contrasting contradictions:  loss of movement, but gain of Being.  But, then, that is so often true of daily living, isn’t it?

There is a contradiction in what we do; on the face of it, we appear to be “doing something”; but deep within the recesses of our thoughtful doubts, we know that we are failing to accomplish the hope of our dreams, the aspirations still surviving deep within our hearts, and the very failure of moving towards that which we desire, diminishes our inner selves and begins to slowly, insidiously shrivel the core of our souls.

Medical conditions tend to have that effect, and when the “outside” world begins to confirm that which we fear, the shriveling effect becomes accelerated on an exponential scale where proportionality of judgment becomes askew and fails to meet the expectations of our own essences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to pervasively impact all aspects of life – home, recreational, work and relational – the danger is that of a Still Life painting:  the combination of events and objects are not what they are supposed to be, and the encounter with “real” life no longer allows for further movement.

We become stuck in a painting arranged by someone else, and more and more, we lose greater control over our own destiny.  And in the alternative meaning of that concept – that we “still” have some life in us – is where taking the pragmatic steps toward preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset comes into play.

Still Life does not have to prevent movement where there is still life; and for the Federal or Postal employee who is no longer able to advance because a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, it is the Still Life painting which represents the impetus that there is still life to be lived beyond one’s Federal or Postal job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Happy Meter

We have metrics for everything, now; devices simultaneously wearable as necklaces to gauge heart rates and exercising of limbs; of crystals which tell of emotive alterations throughout the day; and connective apparatus lest we lose a signal within the vast field of human interactions with the greater world in distant horizons.

Then, why not a “happy meter”?  How would it determine the accuracy within a spectrum of a day’s journey?  Would it be based upon a pinnacle on a graph? Or, perhaps it would calculate the average temperature between qualitative quotients of sad, neutral and ecstatic?  Or, maybe it would provide a needle prick, or a gentle nudge with a vibrating sensation or a humming sound which reminds us that we are now in the state we seek, of a joyous moment within the historicity of our own emotions.

But would it work, and would a happy meter merely gauge our state of being, or fulfill a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-aggrandizing need for knowledge reflective of foolish accounts as seen by other cultures and societies?  For the most part, any quantification of self-satisfaction would still require the affirmative input of the subject being studied.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the idea of gauging happiness as the sole criteria for seeking Federal Disability Retirement benefits is merely to identify one criteria among many.

For, in the end, “happiness” is just a byproduct resulting from multiple other factors, including a future sense of security; an idea of where one fits within the larger schematic plans of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; where one’s career path will go if the Federal or Postal employee attempts to remain in the job and the agency which cannot be completely fulfilled; whether a viable “accommodation” can be provided to allow the Federal or Postal employee to continue in the same position such that the Federal or Postal employee can perform all of the essential elements of the position; and multiple other and similar elements to consider.

Ultimately, one’s “happiness” cannot be determined by a mere quantification of heart rate, level of perspiration, or the stability of emotions and thought-processes; and while there is no mechanism discovered or invented, yet, which is encapsulated by a commercially salable Happy Meter, perhaps there will be one in the near future.

For the time being, however, one could nevertheless do what men and women have done for centuries, and simply reflect seriously for a moment upon one’s past accomplishments, determining present needs, and plan for one’s future security by taking the affirmative steps necessary to prepare, formulate, and file with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The False Option of Extremes

-The choices we make are contingent upon the knowledge we possess; thus, if we choose between a tripartite offering of x, y & z, when (as perhaps illustrated by Venn Diagrams within a rectangular border representing the “universal” set of possibilities) actual and available options may extend beyond the known quantities available, then we have made our decision based upon an ignorance of alternatives.

Offerings are generally made based upon self-centered care; in negotiating with an adversary, it is normally the option of extremes which are granted:  Either X, or Y, but not both, and if neither X nor Y, then consequence-T.  No mention is made concerning the availability of sub-options Xx, or Yy, to the remaining result of T1, 2 or 3.  Furthermore, when the concealment or unrevealed alternatives fail to be presented, it is often the case that only the extreme of options are conveyed, which makes the entire set of non-universal choices false in their very definition.  This can be exponentially quantified when a medical condition is introduced into the equation, precisely because mental acuity and sound judgment become influenced by desperation of circumstances.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the false option of extremes can very likely be attributable to fear, lack of knowledge, combined with loss of confidence in the fair distribution of justice and good sense.

It is indeed troubling that so many Federal and Postal workers know nothing about Federal Disability Retirement, or its availability after having worked just 18 months in the Federal sector (under FERS), or 5 years under CSRS.  The confusion can sometimes arise in the availability of Social Security Disability, which is distinct and separate from Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The two are distinct and different in multiple ways:  the criteria to qualify; the nature of the benefit; the rules concerning employment after approval of either, etc.  Yes, if under FERS both SSDI and FERS Disability Retirement are granted, there is an “offset” tantamount to a coordination of benefits between the two, but for those who do not seek outside employment, the combination of both (despite the offset) will normally net the (former) Federal or Postal employee more in terms of a monthly annuity.

Whatever the reasons, the age-old adage (attributable to Sir Francis Bacon) that knowledge is power, and lack of it injustice and contempt (the addendum clause is merely added by this author) by those who possess but offer mere false alternatives, is but a pervasive truism abounding despite the Internet, Google and other information-searching technologies of modernity.

In the end, the false options of extremes should be countered by a deliberative intent and real curiosity to know — know that the “other side” is never truly looking out for your best interest; that in making spur-of-the-moment decisions, to take a further moment to investigate and reflect may be fruitful, and in the end, to recognize that for the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, working on at the expense of one’s health, or resigning, are not the only two options available, but preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is also within the subset of universal alternatives available to the Federal or Postal employee.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire